Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Being busy and being honest with yourself

I am a busy person. Sometimes I am 'busy', i.e. making extra work for myself, having two links in the chain when one will do, that sort of thing. But there's no denying that, objectively, I am busy. A PhD, a huge part of which means spending two hours of buses two to three days a week, is always going to take a lot of time. The bus journeys destroy me because they are a) time consuming b) make me feel incredibly travel sick, ruining my chances for acting like a wholly normal person on those days c) wasted time (you can't write, use a laptop, do useful things on the bus).

I am trying to be less busy. I resigned from the admin job I had for my supervisor. I appreciated the extra income, but the stress of being the recipient of endless numbers of emails was too much for me. I am trying to prioritise. But this is difficult. I signed up to do a fair bit of teaching, and that simply doesn't stop. The dates are in the diary, the times are fixed, the bus journeys obligatory. I guess, next year I might take a break from teaching.

I also play in a ceilidh band. This is immensely fun, and I love the banter, the actual playing, and everything that goes along with it. However, through this I got roped into being the President of the society the band is a part of. Again, endless emails, organising room bookings and so on and so on. So I resigned, because the list was endless. The band also play late at night, and I often don't get home until well after midnight, buzzing with adrenaline. You can see why this is a problem.

I am a PhD student, and yet my diary is full, all of the time, with things and things and more things. Emails come hard and fast. I delete 70% of them, but those 30% require a response, no matter how short. I suppose it comes with the territory, but being the in-between of student and staff is difficult, because you are surrounded by people who's time is fluid, spills over into weekends and evenings, and for whom 'having so much work to do' is somehow an accepted norm. 

I want to have several days a week with nothing in my diary. That's the goal. To switch off the emails, have a list of tasks to work through, read whole books, write the dissertation that needs to be written, On top of that, Leo lives in Ireland now, so that means flying back and forth to see him, spending hours on the phone every week talking and keeping the dream alive. I love it, but it is sometimes very hard work.

So, I'm almost forgetting why I wrote this, because really it's just reminding me how much I have still to do and further stressing me out. But, I suppose, the reason I wrote this was to remind myself that, yes, I have a lot of stuff that clogs up my head, makes me feel overwhelmed, busy, tired and stressed. The end goal is to write a PhD, and move back to Ireland. That's it. Do the PhD, finish in good time, enjoy it, learn a lot, and then progress to a worthwhile and productive job (hopefully!), in the country I come from (finally!), with my favourite guy (yay!). 

I'm just going to leave this here, and come back to it when I'm feeling overwhelmed, and remind myself of what the task at hand really is. It's not to make lots of new friends and integrate super well into the University life here (although friends are nice and I amn't a hermit), and it's not to run student societies (I'm not really a student, and I'm 27 anyway), and it's certainly not to get bogged down in teaching, admin, non-essential tasks etc. It's to research for and write a PhD dissertation. 

And, I guess, to go on as many holidays and breaks as I can fit in (sunshine!), and to take care of my health and wellbeing (which 100% includes drinking lots of tea in my cosy room watching Pretty Little Liars with the jar of fairy lights on the table next to me. Obv). 

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